College of Medicine

Microbiology, Immunology, & Molecular Genetics - Graduate


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The Ph.D. program in Microbiology, Immunology and Molecular Genetics is designed to prepare candidates for research careers in academics, industry, and government laboratories. The program has at its heart a close student-mentor relationship that allows for the maximum flexibility in the development of independent and creative scientists. Students will have the opportunity to join faculty research programs across a spectrum of topics including: pathogenic microbiology, virology, cancer cell and molecular biology, and cellular and molecular immunology. Specific research areas include microbial physiology, bacterial pathogenicity, cellular and molecular immunology, tumor immunology, lymphocyte differentiation, membrane biology, molecular virology, molecular genetics, and gene regulation. Students will utilize the techniques of molecular biology, genetic engineering, genomics, array technology, transgenic technology, hybridoma technology, and fluorescence-activated cell sorting. The program of study is tailored to the individual background and career goals of the student and stresses an interdepartmental approach both in the selection of courses and in the pursuit of research. The most important aspect of the doctoral program is an independent research thesis under the direction of the student's mentor. Students are expected to participate in graduate seminars, journal clubs, and research seminars, to interact with visiting scholars and to present the results of their research at local and national meetings. Financial aid is available for qualified students.

Doctoral Program Description

All students pursuing degrees in the biomedical sciences at the University of Kentucky College of Medicine are admitted through the Integrated Biomedical Sciences (IBS). This first-year core curriculum provides broad-based exposure to biochemistry, cell biology, molecular biology, genetics, cell signaling and integrated physiology and flexibility in selecting a research emphasis among 175 faculty in the six participating departments: Microbiology, Immunology and Molecular Genetics, Anatomy and Neurobiology, Biochemistry, Physiology, Pharmacology and Toxicology. Students select their doctoral program among the six participating departments at the completion of the first year core curriculum. The doctoral degree is awarded in the program chosen, for example, in Microbiology, Immunology and Molecular Genetics.

Admission to the graduate program is competitive and is based upon academic background, professional recommendations, performance on the Graduate Record Examination (GRE), experience, and when possible, personal interviews. Students should have completed an undergraduate degree in chemistry, biology, biochemistry, engineering, mathematics, neurosciences, physics, pharmacy or psychology. It is recommended that students have completed undergraduate courses in organic chemistry, physical chemistry, calculus, physics, and the biological sciences. 

Doctoral (PhD) Degree - Application Requirements

Students are  first admitted to the Integrated Biomedical Sciences curriculum, an undifferentiated first-year core curriculum that serves as the entry point for six doctoral programs housed in the University of Kentucky College of Medicine.

  1. CV
    • Indicating any academic honors, publications, research experience and relevant work experience (since graduation--for those who have previously graduated from an undergraduate or graduate degree program). 
  2. Personal Statement
    • Indicate your research interest and goals for doctoral study and beyond.
  3. GRE
  4. Three letters of recommendation

Applicants must meet the Graduate School admission requirements.

Application Deadlines

​Fall: March 15